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Cool/Funny/Lovely Stories About George
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25 January 2013
Ed Sullivan Show
Forum Posts: 153
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18 December 2012
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(Michael Palin's diary continued...)

Tuesday April 20th 1976, New York

At the show tonight George Harrison, looking tired and ill and with short hair, fulfils what he calls a lifetime’s ambition and comes on as one of the Mountie chorus in the ‘Lumberjack Song’.  He’s very modest about it, wears his hat pulled well down and refuses to appear in the curtain call.  He’s now off on holiday to the Virgin Islands.  He needs it.

Friday March 4th 1977

Towards the end of the meeting, Eric asks me if I would be interested in writing for a George Harrison TV special in the States.  I say no on grounds of time.  Eric, too, doesn’t think he can do it as he appears to have lined up an £800,000-budget film for NBC on the Rutles (Eric’s and Neil’s pop group parallel of the

Beatles).  Clearly he commands enormous respect from NBC, who are letting him direct the thing as well.

Monday March 7th 1977

Eric tells me he’s becoming vegetarian.  Presumably under the influence of George H.

Thursday April 13th 1978

Anne rings with positive news on John Goldstone’s meetings with Denis O’Brien, (American merchant banker introduced to us by George Harrison.  He’d been Peter Sellers’ financial adviser) our latest, and probably last, hope for Brian backing.  Apparently O’Brien has okayed the budget, but is negotiating over above the line costs.  So Brian is on the way to a resurrection.

Sunday September 10th 1978

Eric has equally positively decided to move out of London, though only as far as the outer commuter countryside – Oxfordshire, possibly - ‘to be near George (Harrison) and near London’.  Graham and I talked of Keith Moon, who was to have been in the movie and flying out soon to join us, but who died some time on Thursday night, after a party.  Graham, whose abstention from alcohol has increased his appeal a hundred percent – he now sounds like, as well as looks like a very wise old owl – told me that Keith was trying to cut down his Rabelaisain appetite for booze, and had some pills called Heminevrin to help out, but these should be taken under carefully controlled conditions and never with alcohol – for they act to increase the strength of anything you do drink.  So Keith had just gone too far and, although his whole life was lived constantly up to the limits, this time, like an adventurous schoolboy on a frozen pond, he’d stepped a little too far out.  What a waste.  But GC reckons both Peter Cook and Ringo S are also in trouble with booze.

Sunday October 22nd 1978, Monastir

Tom (MP’s son) decided he would like to appear in the afternoon’s filming, so he was supplied with a long robe and turban and looked very handsome.  He was the only one of the Python children to have a go, but was very proud of himself.  The room was packed and it was definitely one of the less comfortable scenes, but graced by the presence of the visiting George Harrison, who took the part of Mr. Papadopolous, the impresario in charge of the Mount.  At least Tom could say he’d been in a scene with Beatles and Pythons.

Monday November 20th 1978

To the Hemdale Preview Theatre in Audley Square at four to see the assembly of all the Brian material.  Apart from the Python team – all looking a lot more like pale-faced Englishmen after a week of British November – Tim Hampton and John Goldstone, Anne Henshaw, George Harrison and Denis O’Brien were there.

Saturday November 25th 1978

Embark for George Harrison’s in the Mini.  Arrive at Friar Park as the sun has just set.  It must be two years since I came here with Eric to complete the mixing of ‘Lumberjack Song’ (or was it three?).  There’s a blazing log fire in the galleried hall and George has just come in from planting bulbs in the garden.  He seems very relaxed and settled into the role of a country squire – his face has fleshed out a little, he looks less frail and tortured.  We have tea and talk about the house and Sir Frank Crisp, the eccentric lawyer who built it. (Crisp [1843-1919] bought Friar Park in 1895.  He, like George, was a keen horticulturalist.  Unlike George, he was a fully paid -up member of the Royal Microscopical Society.)  And died penniless as a result.  My mother remembers Sir Frank hiding behind bushes in the garden and jumping out on her and her sister when they visited the place as little girls.  (My mother was born and brought up on Hernes Estate, which borders Friar Park.)  Saw George’s four-month-old boy, Dhani, then his other recent enthusiasm, his book.  Called I Me Mine, it’s an expensively leather-bound collection of his songs with his own hand-written notes and corrections.  We find out that George is just older than me.  He was born February 1943.  He is quite struck by this and, as a momento of him being just older, gives me one of the glass eyes made for his Madame Tussaud’s dummy!  Derek Taylor and Joan arrive later and we eat a superb Indian meal cooked by Kumar.  Quite delicious and delicate. 

Derek tells of the horrors of LA that have driven him back to England – to a farmhouse in Suffolk.  So humourless and depressing were his colleagues in Warner Records, that Derek took great pleasure in puzzling them by eccentric behaviour.  He would insist on playing Hollywood record moguls a tape of Violet Bonham-Carter being interviewed.  (Extremely English upper-class daughter of former Prime Minister, H. H. Asquith; leading figure in Liberal politics.)  They sat there polite but utterly bewildered.  ‘Twenty minutes’ peace’, Derek recalled with feeling.

Friday January 19th 1979

Brian screening.  Terry Hughes, Michael White, George H, Jill Foster.  John Goldstone issues us with clipboards and little torches to make notes.

Monday June 4th 1979, Los Angeles

Some of us, TJ especially, are concerned over the American funamentalist Baptist backlash – after all, George Harrison, as producer, has already had letters threatening never to buy his records again – but Warner’s dismiss all this.

Monday July 2nd 1979

Back into London for some dubbing and post-synching on Brian.  The new work on the ‘Leper’ last week does seem to make the speech clearer, but I see-saw on the effectiveness of the sketch.  Terry J is the greatest champion of the ‘Leper’ at the moment.  I think Denis O’B would rather see it out.  I dub George Harrison’s voice on – another to add to my collection.

Wednesday September 5th 1979

George Harrison calls.  He has just come back from appearing in court in his continuous saga of the fight for Allen Klein’s Beatle money.  He said he was very nervous before taking the stand (he went to the lavatory three times before he even left for the courthouse).  He went to see Brian – found a one-third black audience and a row of orthadox Jews – all enjoying it.  But he does tell me of an exquisite piece of justice.  Whom should George find himself in the first class lounge at Kennedy with, but Bernard Delfont – the man who turned down Life Of Brian.  George was not backward in going forward and in an informal way enquired whether or not Bernie was acquainted with the fact that Python had taken $1 million already.  George thanked him profoundly.  A heartfelt thanks – echoed by us all.

Thursday September 6th 1979

This evening all the Pythons meet at Anne’s….  As we sit around, it’s John who asks, ‘Isn’t there someone missing?’  We all agree that we have this sensation whenever the Python group assembles nowadays.  The unknown Python.  The present ‘seventh’ Python (taking over from Neil Innes) arrives a moment or two later in the person of George Harrison.  To Odin’s for a nice meal and too much wine.  George tells tales of the Beatles – of the hugely dominant Yoko who has reduced J Lennon to a housewife, of George’s liking for Paul and his ‘ego’, and Ringo who’s….’You know, very simple’. 

Other little glimpses into the lives of the rich and famous - like the fact that George admits (with a smileg acknowledging the absurdity) that he doesn’t buy clothes any more.  Clothes come to him.  And, having once again outlasted all other diners, we meander back to Park Square West.  It’s a full moon and the entire kerb is taken up with Python cars – George’s little black Porsche, John’s dirty Rolls, my Mini, Terry J’s yellow Volkswagen Polo, Gilliam’s mighty yellow Volkswagen tank and G Chapman’s rented Mercedes.  Loud farewells, door slams, car tyres reversing on the road and the Python fleet heads off in the moonlight to find a way out of Regent’s Park.


25 January 2013
Ed Sullivan Show
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Thursday September 13th 1979, New York

Back to the Navarro – this in itself quite an exciting little trip, as The Who’s fans are thick outside the hotel, and word has gotten around that Pythons and George Harrison are also in there.  George walks with practised skill, firmly ahead and steadfastly refusing to even see anybody.  ‘Pretend they’re invisible, it’s the only way.’

Friday September 14th 1979, New York

Finish reading TG’s Brazil script.  Rather dull characters complicate an otherwise quite striking visual feel.  Later in the evening, when we are all taken to Elaine’s by Denis and George, TG and I talk about it.  He’s near desperation on the script – knows what needs to be done, but can’t do it himself.  Champagne in my suite with Al Levinson and Claudie, the French lady to whom he has lost his heart.  She is indeed lovely – slim, long dark hair framing a small face with lively eyes.  She is obviously quite taken aback by the champagne and Plaza style – and when George H comes down to join us for a drink, her smashing eyes widen to 70 mill.  George, so nice and so straight, disarms her.  He brings a tape of some Hoagy Carmichael songs – one of which he’s thinking of recording. – whilst the remains of Hurricane Frederick finally reach Manhattan with a brief but impressive display of lightening and sheeting rain outside.

Saturday October 6th 1979

Drop in on George at Friar Park.  He’s about to have his breakfast (onions, egg and peppers (green)).  I apologise for arriving too early, but George (half-way into a new beard) assures me that he’s been up a while, and out planting his fritillaries.  He takes the gardening very seriously and has a bulb catalogue, which he refers to now and then in between telling me of the $200 million suit the Beatles are bringing against the management of Beatlemania, a live show in the US using their look-alikes.  He hasn’t heard that Brian is No. 1, but is greatly chuffed at the news and shakes my hand.  ‘Now you can all have one of these,’ says George, nodding round at Friar Park.  ‘The trouble is,’ I have to say, ‘I’m really happy where I am.’  ‘Nonsense, Palin,’ replies the Quiet One, ‘you’ll have a mansion and like it!’  I enjoy George’s company and I think he mine.  Despite all his trappings he’s a down-to-earth, easy-to-please character.

Friday November 30th 1979

Collect Terry and Maggie and we drive out in the Citroen to George H’s for a Python dinner.  George scuttles around putting records on the juke-box, playing silly pieces on the piano and generally trying to make everyone feel at home – whereas all the guests are of good bourgeois stock and far more ill at ease with George’s unpredictable caperings than with standing sipping champagne and making polite conversation.  Cleese and I decide that the house would make a superb set, for a period film.  we agree to write a farce together set in Friar Park.  ‘Ripping Towers’ suggests JC’s blonde and lovely girlfriend (whom I’ve not seen before).  The table in the dining room is set splendidly.  Table seating has been worked out by Olivia, who clutches a piece of paper as nervously as George earlier pottered with the juke-box.  I end up sitting next to George, with Joan and Derek (Taylor) and Eric up our end.  Excellent food, especially the salmon, and 1966 claret which was virtually on tap.  George confesses to feeling uncomfortable with a ‘posh’ evening like this, which I find reassuring – all the glitter and glamour that money can buy, all the success and adulation, has only affected our George very superficially.


26 January 2013
Ed Sullivan Show
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You're very welcome! I was considering the same thing. Palin has such a lovely way with words, and I'd definitely like to read more about his experiences.

article-1176628-04C4E4DD000005DC-27.jpgImage Enlarger

George Harrison is believed to have forged all the signatures of the Beatles to make a dying fan’s wish come true.

The report emerged after an autographed picture of the band was sold at Keys auctioneers in Aylsham, Norfolk on Friday.

It was donated by Harry Bartlett, of Rickinghall, Suffolk, whose daughter Ann received the photograph shortly before her death in the late 1960s at the age of 16.

Andrew Bullock of Keys said it was thought Harrison had copied the signatures of his fellow band members - Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon.

'We've sent it to a handwriting expert and it's just about 100 per cent certain that they were done by George,' he said.

'There are quite a few photographs in existence with autographs that were all signed by George. He got quite good at doing it.

'In this case, where you have got this poor girl who is terminally ill, he was probably aware of the situation and thought he should get it sent off as soon as possible.

'That adds a certain something and is actually quite nice.'

The lot, which also included a signed photograph of Harrison, sold for £1,300 to an anonymous telephone bidder.

Proceeds from the sale will go towards leukaemia research at the University of East Anglia.

Read more at ONTD: http://ohnotheydidnt.livejourn.....z2J2rvMORy


26 January 2013
Ed Sullivan Show
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18 December 2012
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I gained a new appreciation for the Living in the Material World documentary after reading this article. It kind of explains some of the footage it showed and why George liked carrying around a video camera.

Meditation isn't something that has to happen while you're alone on a cushion in a perfectly silent room during your daily alloted 20 minutes. There are many meditation practices that can be integrated into your daily life. This not only has the effect of deepening the peace in your life, but it also extends the benefits of meditation to the world you interact with.

How I came to find myself in Fiji in a small guest house built into a living baka banyon tree overlooking the reef on a coconut plantation owned by security expert Gavin de Becker and frequented by international celebrities, and how I eventually managed to drag myself away from this tropical paradise, is another story completely. But while I was there, I happened to meet George Harrison, a notable artist in his own right, and also one of the Beatles.

George reminded me a lot of my late Uncle Peter, a sparring partner to boxing greats who passed through Denver. Though a fighter by occupation, Peter was the sweetest, gentlest soul I'd ever encountered. He was of Eastern European ancestry but grew up in a Hispanic area in the city and spoke kindly with a slight inner-city Spanish accent. An artist at heart, he boxed to support his fine art painting habit (oils, watercolors), and every year at Christmas he delivered a new box of crayons for me under the tree. Just that year, Peter's life, after many years of treatment, had succumbed to throat cancer, and coincidentally, George was just recovering from a surgery to treat his own throat cancer. Besides their cancer, the two shared a similar glimmer in the eye, a silly mischief barely hidden behind a straight face. They were onto some joke of the universe, the punchline of which, age appropriately, I still didn't get. Perhaps it was the similarity between George and Uncle Peter that helped us become fast friends. Or perhaps it was just the quiet charisma of George and the openness of the place we found ourselves in.

George was the first meditator I'd met. I'd heard about meditation in books, but I had no idea what the word really meant. George asked me if I meditated, and I told him no, bashfully explaining that one day I planned on trying it. He told me it was simple, and he showed me his little hi-tech video camera. It was 1997, and digital effects on video cameras were really cutting edge at the time. Meditation can simply be a conscious shift of attention, George explained.

George was practicing a meditation with no beginning and no end, consciously shifting his attention to beauty. What you give your attention to becomes the content of your mind and therefore influences your perception and experience of life. Whenever he noticed something beautiful, he gave it his attention. Instead of just a glimpse, he gazed. He used his camera to help him. Sitting on the sunny deck overlooking the reef, he showed me some of his footage: it began at his home in Hawaii, and the image was of two ukuleles he was in the process of re-upholstering in zebra print. One was for himself, and one was for Dhani, his son. Then the image cross-faded to a flower, a sunset, then a rainbow, a cloud drifting in a blue sky, a double rainbow, the sunrise, waves on a white sandy beach, the moon. His recording went on like that with images of beauty. I was surprised to find that I had difficulty giving my full attention to his montage of beauty. Thoughts of my problems and challenges tried to distract my attention away from this experience. It took effort and strength of will to remain focused on beauty.

George explained to me, "What you focus on is what you hold in your consciousness. And so that is what you feel, and that is what you are." What you focus on grows in your experience, so you'll draw more of it to you. Certainly, I noticed that George was surrounded by beauty, including his wife, family and friends. And it wasn't that he denied the harshness of the world, either. On the contrary, he had several charities in place (which still exist as the Material World Charitable Foundation) making great efforts to help those in need. He carried with him proof pudding of his beautiful practice.

Before this encounter, I'd not realized that I had control over what I felt or thought. I was completely reactionary to the world, a victim of my happy or sad circumstance. But this lesson helped me realize the power I have over my own state of being, and that I can be responsible for how I feel. Change the focus of your attention, change your world. It was such a simple lesson, but profound enough that it never left me. And what kind of person would I be if I kept it to myself forever? So I'm sharing it with you.

You can try shifting the focus of your attention at any time, no matter where you are. Choose your theme: look for truth, beauty, abundance or love in the world you perceive, and then notice the change in your inner state as you move through life. You can even keep a video diary, like George did.

Also relates to this quote, which is very sweet.

"George quoted Bob like people quote Scripture. Bob really adored George, too. George used to hang over the balcony videoing Bob while Bob wasn’t aware of it. Bob would be sitting at the piano playing, and George would tape it and listen to it all night." - Tom Petty

31 January 2013
Ed Sullivan Show
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Zep members and Beatles were friends through mutual acquaintances, and would appear at each others' weddings and birthday parties, but they weren't exactly close friends. The respect was evident, but there's not too many actual quotes where they comment on each other in public.

George Harrison was more noted for hanging out with Zep than any other Beatle, that's for certain. At John Bonham's 25th birthday party, it was Harrison who started the debauchery all because he knew the nature of the beast he was about to enter.. so instead of bowing his head and succumbing to what he knew was to come (this WAS John Bonhams party after all...enough said) George decided to take the bull by the horns and get things going. When a photo op. presented itself, Harrison grabbed the top tier of Bonham's birthday cake and heaved it at the guest of honor. Pandemonium ensued with Bonham throwing anyone he could find into the swimming pool, Harrison included. Jimmy Page, who could not swim and was dressed in a truly expensive lavender suit.. gave up and simply walked slowly and gallantly into the pool, fully dressed. It was hilarious.

On another note, it was also George Harrison who is given credit for The Rain Song. He commented to Jimmy that the trouble with Zep is that there's not enough ballads. Jimmy wrote The Rain Song, and some say purposefully added the first 2 chords of Harrison's "Something" as the intro to "The Rain Song". Upon initial listening, one cannot argue with that logic. No doubt it is true.

Slightly different version of the story:

Later, in 1973, Led Zeppelin's John Bonham was celebrating a birthday in Los Angeles after a gig at the Forum, which George and Patti Harrison had attended. The ex-Beatle was intrigued with Led Zeppelin, once he had asked Cole if he could pop around during the intermission at Madison Square Garden. Cole said there was no intermission, the band played up to three hours straight. Harrison was stunned, saying the Beatles only had to play thirty minutes or less.

Cole tells of how birthday boy Bonham wanted his picture taken with the ex-Beatle, and George was flattered. But he was wary, knowing Bonham’s penchant for practical jokes, so he grabbed the top tier of his cake and smashed it over Bonham’s head as a preemptive strike. Bonham chased Harrison and threw him in the pool. Many of the other party guests followed, and Jimmy Page waded in the shallow end to avoid being thrown in.

Always loved this one, haha.

31 January 2013
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Eunarchy in the UK: George Harrison's first movie
Long before The Life of Brian, George Harrison funded an award-winning film stuffed with British talent – so why has it taken 40 years to surface?

little malcolmImage Enlarger

Lost treasure … David Warner in Little Malcolm

In 1979 George Harrison purchased, almost on a whim, what Terry Jones would later call "the most expensive movie ticket of all time". After a single reading of the script of Monty Python's Life of Brian, he mortgaged his own luxury mansion and sank the resultant funds into a project that had been abandoned, days before shooting started, by its original backer, Bernie Delfont of EMI. Why did he do it? "Because I liked the script and I wanted to see the movie," said Harrison later. A Beatle can do that.

From that almost informal exchange of favours between good friends sprang arguably the most interesting British production company of the 1980s, Handmade Films, backed by Harrison and his producing partner Denis O'Brien. Handmade gave us Brian and Withnail & I, The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa, and the early work of Terry Gilliam. That legend is well known; less well known is that Brian was not Harrison's first foray into film production; that distinction belongs to Stuart Cooper's superb adaptation of David Halliwell's play Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs, retitled Little Malcolm. It was made in 1973, won the Silver Bear at Berlin in 1974, and then was lost to public view for nearly four decades as one of the many contested assets of what Cooper today calls "the Beatles' divorce".

"George never said this to me," says Cooper, "but I definitely got the feeling that Little Malcolm may have been the first and last time George ever went to a play. But he was a big, big fan of it and also a big fan of [its star] Johnny Hurt, so he was in our corner already. Also, at the time, the other Beatles all had a film gig, John had done Imagine, Paul, I guess, directed Magical Mystery Tour, and Ringo was in Candy and The Magic Christian. So the only one without a film gig was George. He financed Malcolm through a company called Suba Films, which existed solely to receive profits from the animated Yellow Submarine. It was financed entirely by Yellow Submarine! It wasn't a big budget, somewhere around a million, million and a half pounds – not expensive. He financed it top to bottom. He stepped up, wrote the cheque, and we made the movie."

Cooper, then 31, hailed from wealthy Newport Beach, California, and had won a scholarship to Rada, one of six Americans chosen. Although Cooper always planned to become a director, among his classmates was Anthony Hopkins, and just graduating were Hurt and David Warner, soon to become friends, both of whom would later appear in Little Malcolm. Mike Leigh, who in 1965 would direct the first stage version of Little Malcolm (running five hours and starring the apparently cuts-averse Halliwell), was a little younger. The Leigh production flopped, but a two-hour version ran in the West End later that year starring Hurt. Harrison saw this one and loved it.

It's easy to see why. Malcolm is an impotent, powerless nobody sustained by hopeless compensation-fantasies, a recently expelled art student who sees himself as at war with what he calls "the Eunarchy" of social conformists and the sexually timid. All his art is self-portraiture while his pseudo-radical groupuscule, the toothsomely named Party of Dynamic Erection, is camouflage for the knock-kneed terror that its members – Wick, Irwin and Nipple (Warner) – all feel in the presence of women. Hurt's magnificently verbose, quasi-fascist ranting and his fondness for loyalty tests, public shaming and show trials ("Do you plead guilty or very guilty?") soar aloft on language that's part-Beckett, part "free love" advocate Wilhelm Reich, with more than a hint of the Beatles' beloved Goons. In some moments there are clear pre-echoes of David Thewlis in Naked and the mad squabbling of Withnail & I. This is a 40-year-old movie that hasn't dated an hour.

After filming in Oldham in gas board buildings emptied out by a strike, using Kubrick's great cinematographer John Alcott, Cooper says it seemed only moments after the final cut was printed that the movie was impounded. "In the end, we got hung up by the Beatles' breakup, when all of the Apple and Beatles assets went into the official receiver's hands. So Little Malcolm just basically sat there for a couple of years. Whatever heat and buzz we generated was all lost. It didn't diminish the movie but it stopped the momentum. George had to fight to get it back.

"Berlin was the first airing we managed, but it won best direction and the response was incredible. We got great reviews from Alexander Walker and Margaret Hinxman, but by then it really didn't have any legs. It was a film that got lost, and I had to put it on a shelf and say to myself, well, there might be a day for that one day – and here we are now, after so many years."

Little Malcolm won the Silver Bear at Berlin in 1974 (Cooper's next movie, the sombre and chastening Overlord, won another Silver Bear in 1975), and the post-ceremonial bacchanals were memorable indeed. "We partied with Fassbinder the night we won the Silver Bear in '74," laughs Cooper. "He loved Malcolm, and watching him - I think everyone has a pretty clear idea of how Fassbinder looked at that point; scruffy, sunglasses, leather, unkempt beard - watching him drinking with Johnny Hurt with his horrible scruffy beard, and still dressed like Malcolm, really - they could have been twins! Fassbinder could have played Malcolm!"

Has anyone here ever heard of or seen this film? This is the trailer: 

1 February 2013
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From a book called The Story of the Fender Stratocaster:

George Harrison: 'I don't have a whole lot of Strats. I've got a sunburst one, one that Eric gave me quite a few years ago. There was one that was stripped to the wood that I gave to Spike Milligan. He was at my house one day with Peter Sellers - Peter was playing the drums, Spike was playing the piano, and I was playing guitar. Then Spike got off the piano and wanted to play the guitar, so I plugged him in to this Strat through a little Champ amplifier. He said, "Oh, I haven't played for 30 years", but he just picked it up and it sounded like Django Reinhardt or something. And I thought, well, that's good. So when he left I put it in the case, and put it and the Champ in Peter Sellers' boot and told him, "When you drop Spike off give him this." So he uses it in his show now. It's the Strat from the concert for Bangladesh.'

I really wish there was a picture of them jamming together.

There is this one of Spike Milligan and George though:

tumblr_lxnelkQgcw1r5n2gzo1_500.jpgImage Enlarger

8 February 2013
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A Man of His Word.
by Derek Mann

The ex-head gardener at Friar Park this week spoke of George Harrison’s ‘wicked’ sense of humour.

Derek Mann, aged 48, said that George was a kind and gentle man, who was genuine and totally unpretentious.

“I first met George and his wife Olivia when I was working as a gardener at a hotel in the Virgin Islands,” said Derek. “I took them on a guided tour of the grounds and we spoke at length about gardening. He said that if I was to come back to the UK to get in touch and he would give me a job.

“When I returned he was as good as his word and I started at Friar Park in 1991.

“We would regularly walk around the grounds together so he could tell me what he wanted done. Sometimes he would have a ukulele with him and play a few chords while we wandered around.

“There were a couple of spots in the garden where George would sit, watch the sun go down and meditate. There I planted night scented stock plants, which gave off a very strong perfume. He thanked me and said it reminded him of his mother who used to plant the same flowers in their council house home.”

Derek, who was forced to retire due to ill-health in 1994, recalls seeing Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at Friar Park, “They always seemed to get on extremely well,” he said.

“The tennis star John McEnroe paid a visit once. He played a few sets with George, Olivia and their son Dhani on their own court in the gardens.

John Lennon built a mosaic of what looked like an alien in the garden which was surrounded by roses named after Paul McCartney.

“George had a pet Yorkshire terrior called Winston, John Lennon’s middle name.”

And Derek said that George was not quite the recluse that everyone believed.

“He had a mountain bike that he used to ride around the estate on and would often put on a pork-pie hat and a pair of scruffy jeans with holes in them and cycle through Henley and onto the river bank.

“He also owned an old fashioned racing car, which was barely road-worthy, but on occasions he would race it up and down Gravel Hill wearing a leather flying helmet and goggles.”

Derek said that George was a generous man who gave his original head gardener a new car as a Christmas present.

“George was a genuinely nice man,” said Derek. “I remember fondly the times when he and I would sit together in his kitchen with a cup of coffee and talk about gardening.

“Together, with the rest of the world, I shall miss him.

From an interview with Ringo's ex-girlfriend, Nancy Andrews:

Question:And you met George Harrison before all of them. (Her boyfriend at the time, Carl Radle, played bass on All Things Must Pass and The Concert for Bangla Desh.) What was George like?

Nancy Lee Andrews: George was quiet but had this intensity when he talked to you. Again, this guy loved music and it was all about the music. His wife at the time, Pattie Boyd, was great to hang out with. She's a creative woman and a wonderful person. A few years later Ringo and I went to visit him and Olivia at Friar Park in 1979. They were so happy. Olivia cooked a delicious dinner, he played the guitar and we wandered around that huge mansion while he told us its history. He opened a door, I think it was in the kitchen and handed us candles and told us to follow him. I thought, Oh, we're going to the spooky cellar but the stairs kept going down and down and finally we landed on a flat surface. I looked, and couldn't believe what I saw... it was a cave complete with stylolites. Walkways through a cavern. There was even a stream running through it! I had my camera with me and we had a hilarious time shooting with and without the flash. I have so many incredible pictures of us in that cave.

After that we settled in his study/music room and he handed me a bowl of rubies... big ones, small ones that were all cabachons. It was days before my birthday and he said to pick what ever I want and have something made. While he and Ringo talked and played the guitar I settled in front of the fireplace and designed a necklace with lots of hanging rubies. One of those nights I'll never forget.

8 February 2013
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Interview with Sir Jackie Stewart:

The day I played George Harrison's chauffeur in my tartan cap

I first met George Harrison when the Beatles turned up at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1969.

George enjoyed motor racing and, in 1979, he released a single called Faster which, the cover explained, was "inspired by Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda and dedicated to the entire F1 circus".

The chorus ended:

No one knows quite how he does it but it's true they say

He's the master of going faster.

I can just see George sitting somewhere getting an idea in his head, then scribbling the words on the back of a cigarette packet. That was his genius.

We had fun shooting the music video for Faster, in which I made a cameo appearance as George's chauffeur, wearing a white hat with a tartan band, similar to my old racing helmet.

I drove the Daimler while, on the other side of a glass partition, George sat strumming on his guitar, singing.

Our closeness seemed to confirm the old saying that opposites attract. While I like to organise my life with military precision, George took a more laid-back approach.

I remember one time, at an airport, I was starting to worry whether we would get to the gate on time but George just smiled and said he wanted a cup of tea.

"OK," I fretted, "but I don't think we have time."

"There's always time for a cup of tea," he said.

If we had been dropped from the same height, George would have been a feather, drifting this way and that on the breeze; I would have been a lead weight plunging straight down.

There were times when we could have been living on different planets, when George was procrastinating and I would be all action, when he was wearing way-out clothes and I was traditionally dressed. But we were alike in paying fanatical attention to detail.

He could be amazingly fastidious, keeping his cars immaculately clean, working on a song until it was so precisely right that it would sound as if it had evolved out of nothing, dreamily and effortlessly.

We shared many wonderful times. On one occasion, when he was staying with us in Switzerland, we went to the French Grand Prix in Dijon. It was a clear, warm evening when we arrived home. Helen had prepared a barbecue, and Paul, who was 12 at the time, brought out his guitar.

George started to play, running through all the great Beatles hits, singing parts of the songs, explaining what the lyrics meant to various members of the band. I remember sitting there, thinking this had to be one of the greatest privileges anybody could have.

George had a great soul. His instinct was to forgive rather than to condemn and, when people behaved badly, he would make excuses for them. I learnt so much from him.

In the late 1990s, when we started to spend more time in England, we saw more of George, his wife Livy and their son Dhani.

We always enjoyed our visits to their home at Friar Park which George took great pride in restoring: reviving the underground canals and the 60-foot mountain modelled on the Matterhorn in Switzerland, complete with Alpine flowers and streams.

He spent endless hours contentedly tending to the plants. "I'm a gardener," he would say.

George was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001. He spent some time in Lugano, in Switzerland, and there he was visited by Ringo Starr. Ringo told me that even though George was, by then, very weak and confined to bed, he listened intently as his old friend told him about some problem.

"Anyway, I'll have to go and sort it out," Ringo said. "That's a trip I'm not going to enjoy."

"Well, look," said George, trying to sit up in bed, "would you like me to come with you?"

That was typical.

9 February 2013
Egroeg Evoli
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George was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001. He spent some time in Lugano, in Switzerland, and there he was visited by Ringo Starr. Ringo told me that even though George was, by then, very weak and confined to bed, he listened intently as his old friend told him about some problem.

"Anyway, I'll have to go and sort it out," Ringo said. "That's a trip I'm not going to enjoy."

"Well, look," said George, trying to sit up in bed, "would you like me to come with you?"

That was typical.

Awwww... how sweet! hearta-hard-days-night-george-10


Geometry, wisdom, tangerines... "The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say..."

Also known as Egg-Rock, Egg-Roll, E-George, Eggy, Ravioli, Eggroll Eggrolli...

Purple stuff... ellipses...

21 February 2013
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From the Beatle Photo Blog


After our little expedition [around the garden] we sat around together for a long time and he wanted to know how my family was doing. He always asked about them, it was important to him to know if everything was really alright. “What’s Christina doing, does she still have her help organization with the Sioux?”
George knew about the problems of the Native Americans in the USA. Olivia’s brother worked as a teacher with the Navajos and both knew about the catastrophic conditions in the Indian reservations.

“Yes, it seems to be something like a destiny in her life.” George nodded. “Yes, that happens to some people, they can’t do anything else then. Actually, every one of us has a role to fulfill on this planet, but only a few people know that. Most think that we’re only here to get a lot of money very quickly and to walk on the sunny side of the street. What Christina is doing surely isn’t easy but it’s admirable. Where does the money for the project work come from?” I was always amazed how deeply George delved into a subject when he was interested in it. I told him about the momentary problems in getting enough money, and that Christina wanted to go the reservations in four weeks with a team of experts to build another building for the youth. I told him that the Indians grow hash. George chuckled. “You don’t mean the kind you smoke, do you?” He knew exactly that I meant that kind.

We talked about how much one can make with this environmentally friendly material: clothing, building materials, paper. When I told him the story about how the FBI had mowed down the fields a few days prior to the harvest the summer before, he couldn’t believe it. “That’s impossible. I thought the reservations were not connected to them. The DEA and the FBI shouldn’t be mowing anything down?” Unfair things could drive him crazy. “Yes, and that’s why she wants to insulate this youth building with hash. In Germany, near Karlsruhe, there is a company that makes finished hash mats. They would donate all the material, but the organization is lacking money for the transport.” “How much?” asked George. “We have an offer from a moving company.

Around five thousand dollars. That’s a lot of money, but it has a symbolic value to the Indians, to show what would be possible if the fields were left to them.” “Call Christina. She should fax me the offer. I have some good contacts to English moving companies. Maybe I can help you and get a better offer.” I called Christina right away and she was of course elated. Any cheaper offer would be more than welcome.
When I arrived home, Christina already greeted me with a huge smile on her face. What had happened? Christina had, as discussed, faxed the offer to George. Two hours later, his assistant called with the request to be sent to bank account number of Christina’s organization Lakota Village Fund. “George wants to pay for the shipping costs.” “But he only wanted to find a cheaper moving service for us?” Christina was speechless. “I don’t know anything about that. He told me to send over the money for the shipping right away. Good luck, Christina.”
Well, that was George. And not just him, that’s how all the four members of the Beatles have always been. They help and support things which the public doesn’t even know about.

Only a few weeks later, George called again. He was in Going, but this time not in a hotel, but at the house of his friend Gerhard Berger. I had been very worried, because there had been many reports about his poor health in the press. I knew he was in Switzerland a lot, at a specialist, but no one could really tell me what my friend was going through. His call relieved me, because it was the same old voice, filled with his typical dry, humorous comments.

So I drove to Austria again, but this time with a strange feeling in my stomach. What could I expect? In Going there was a relatively long stretch up a small mountain road, until I reached a typical house in the pseudo-Alpine style. I was brought into the house by an employee. Olivia was working on the computer. When she saw me, she came toward me. She seemed sad and asked me to follow her out onto the terrace. It was a wonderful sunny and warm day, and we had a beautiful view of the massive “Wilder Kaiser” [mountain] right in front of our eyes. Olivia tried to prepare me for everything gently. We waited for more than an hour for George.

He came out of the house and had a hat on his head. His face and body looked puffed up. The result of all the therapies. His laughter and shining eyes didn’t make you think of a very ill man. He sat down next to me and I avoided the usual silly “how are you”. It wasn’t necessary to ask him. He started talking about his health without any prompting.
“It’s half as bad, Klaus. I’m okay. The doctors got everything and it’s going uphill again. Believe me. Except I think I should change hairdressers.” Laughing, he took off his hat and displayed his head, which was only covered with a few chunks of hair of different lengths. “What kind of camera is that you’ve got there, I think I have the same one. Let me see.” As if he hadn’t even noticed my speechlessness, George kept talking and took the digital camera out of my hand, which I had bought a few weeks earlier in London. We talked about that for a while and George showed me a few tricks as to what one could do with it.

George wasn’t just an excellent driver, he was also devoted to car racing. He had a lot of friends in the scene. But he couldn’t stand Michael Schumacher. He always complained at the television when Schumacher drove in a race. On this day as well, as we watched a live show of a Formula 1 race in Gerhard Berger’s house. “Kick him off the road!” he would yell every time Schumacher passed one of his colleagues. I was always amused at that. George, usually quiet and peaceful, with Formula one and especially Schumacher, he became enraged. Nothing could move him away from the television screen. He barely looked up when I accidentally knocked over a huge flower vase and flooded Gerhard Berger’s living room.

The longer I spent with George that afternoon, the more he convinced me that he was on his way to getting better. He had big plans, wanted to make some necessary changes at Apple. “It annoys me to see that the whole world makes money with our heads, and we can’t manage to get a decent merchandising concept together.”
I knew what he meant. The subject merchandising has been a problem since Brian Epstein. He underestimated it back then. After a few hours, we both felt like taking a leisurely walk. We walked over the fields of the smooth mountains, but George could only walk slowly. We had to stop several times. His strained breathing gave away that he was actually too weak for this, but we wanted to keep going. Or did he just pretend to be the energy-laden man? His invitation was his secret goodbye to me. He wanted to have some nice hours with me, laugh, plan and give me advice for the future.
“When are you going to finally write your own book? You experienced so much. Every idiot who only shook our hands feels the need to write a book about us. Why not you, Klaus?”
Because every idiot does it. It would like a betrayal to me. Everyone would say: Of course, now here comes Voormann too.”
George looked at me in disbelief. “Don’t talk bullshit, Klaus. You don’t have to write about how big my dick is. Anyway, what do you think we do? Or all the people at Apple? Neil for example. There are so many people that make money off of the Beatles myth. That’s why it bothers me that we can’t finally organize our merchandising concept.”

George was breathing like a locomotive, and we had to sit down in the field again, so he could recuperate again. We were both laying in the grass looking at the sky. “You know, death isn’t really that special, not nice or bad. It’s just a vehicle to get us to the next step or level.”
He spoke about death the way others speak of food and drink. “I’ve been here long enough. What more do I want. I’ve lead a privileged life. I’ve pretty much experienced everything one can experience. If I get called away now, then the time’s right. Believe me, I’m not scared.” And while he talked about this, we both looked at the clouds moving past us in the blue sky. The mood was peaceful and also a bit happy.
We walked back slowly, and he told me about his newly bought house in Switzerland and the little studio in which he could work. Back at the house, we both looked forward to a cup of “good old English”. “Come”, he said after a while, “I’ll show you my newest video production.”
He put a tape in the video recorder and grinned cheekily. It was unbelievable. George had filmed himself. Cross-eyed, bald and with a missing tooth, he sang into the camera. “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people.” We laughed until we cried.

We listened to George Formby songs until late into the night, and when were hungry later that night, we went into the kitchen, where he made cheese sandwiches and each of us a cup of Horlix. If I had know that this would be the last times with George, I would not have gone to bed, but would have stayed up all night by his side.
But George didn’t want me to know. He let me drive off believing that he was healed and that there were great things in store for us.

In October, one heard through the media that he had been admitted into a clinic, that the doctors didn’t have much hope and so on.
I didn’t want to believe it and told every caller that George was doing well, since I had just seen him a few weeks before in a good condition. I talked about all of his many ideas and that he wanted to record a new LP. Today I know that I talked myself into that. I wanted to prevent, with all my strength, that my dear friend was dying.

Beginning of November, I tried to reach Olivia and sent an e-mail. Her answer confirmed that George was in a special clinic. He was very weak, but they were not giving up hope. Suddenly the phone was always ringing. Editors and journalists wanted to secure interviews with me in case George died. That everyone believed it was plain to see. I felt horrible and couldn’t understand this attitude. My little George was dying and they were trying to get the suitable people for his eulogies. I didn’t answer the phone anymore and hide away in the basement to play piano for hours. Christina successfully kept everyone away.
On November 29, it happened. A ZDF editor called us after he had received the news over the ticker. For me if was one of the worst moments in my life. John’s death hit me very hard, but George? The news of his death shocked me. I didn’t want to speak to any journalist about it, not on the phone, not in any TV show. For days I was bombarded with phone calls, but I couldn’t say anything. Only a very minimal amount respected my feelings and understood. Some were tactless, that hurt. Not because of me, because of George.

In mid December, a package arrived from California. The return address was Olivia’s office. It was the last Christmas present and the last Christmas card from George and Olivia. Even that he had organized before his death. It showed an angel with a lotus in its hand and the words Love and Peace.
The first summer after George’s death, Dhani and Olivia invited close friends to a little ceremony for George. It was a very emotional event, very positive and very delicate, completely without the press and all the usual attention. There it met, the small “gang”, that pulls itself through George’s life noticeably: Eric, Paul, George Martin, his first wife Pattie, Astrid, brother Harry, Neil Aspinall and the loyal Joan, who already worked at Friar Park before George bought it. And again the fascination of this park was felt. The weather permitted the event to take place in the garden.

Small burning candles floated in the pond, and at the end, Dhani played a piece of the tape with George’s last guitar sounds, his planned new LP. It was an instrumental piece, George’s voice was missing and he was still there. While George’s typical guitar playing wafted through the park quietly, the visitors walked around almost meditatively. Everyone was saying goodbye in their own way, nobody spoke and many let their tears flow freely. Me too. Oh George, I miss you so much!”

The book by Klaus can be ordered “HERE” Be aware that the book is in German.


Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

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